Psychologists study human behaviour and the processes associated with how people think and feel, conduct research and provide treatment and counselling in order to reduce distress and behavioural and psychological problems. They promote mental health and positive behaviour in individuals and groups. Psychologists work on a broad range of issues with clients, including children, adults, couples, families and organisations.
To become a psychologist you usually have to complete a degree with a major in psychology or a four-year Bachelor of Psychology. This is followed by either an accredited two-year postgraduate qualification (majoring in a specialisation of psychology) or two years of supervised experience with a registered psychologist. Psychology can be studied as a major in an arts, social science or science degree. The fourth year of bachelor degree study, which is needed to satisfy registration requirements, may be undertaken as an honours year in the Bachelor of Psychology degree or as a Graduate Diploma of Psychology. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Psychologists may perform the following tasks:
Psychologists are employed by government and privately run community welfare organisations and by hospitals, industry and the Australian Defence Force. They are also employed in private practices and in private health clinics. Many psychology graduates do not find work as psychology specialists but are employed in positions where they can use the skills learnt through their psychology training. Research skills are especially useful in market research, advertising, management or business consultancy. Other areas that provide employment for psychologists include social welfare, community work, human resource management, training, teaching and lecturing, and clerical and administrative work.
A clinical neuropsychologist specialises in the assessment and diagnosis of brain impairment and how this affects thinking skills, emotions, behaviour and personality. They are also involved in the rehabilitation and management of the effects of brain impairment and often work with other health professionals.
A clinical psychologist is trained in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and psychological problems. Located in hospitals, universities, general medical practices, community health centres and private practice, they often work with general medical practitioners, psychiatrists and other health professionals.
A community psychologist works in partnership with the community to provide services that help solve problems and restore individual and collective well-being.
A counselling psychologist provides assessment, diagnosis and psychological therapy for individuals, couples, families, groups and organisations, and treats a wide range of psychological problems and mental health disorders. They work in counselling agencies, government departments, hospitals, general medical practitioners' divisions, educational institutions and private practice.
An educational and developmental psychologist provides assessment, intervention and counselling services related to the developmental and educational issues that occur in life. Specialisations include life span transitions, early intervention, disability, problems of learning and adjustment in schools, career and family development, and ageing.
A forensic psychologist applies psychological knowledge, theory and skills to matters related to the legal and criminal justice system. They provide expert opinion to the courts in such matters as criminal behaviour, child abuse and family court cases.
A health psychologist is concerned with illness prevention and health promotion. They assess and treat the biological, psychological and social factors surrounding health and illness in order to promote positive change and wellbeing.
An organisational psychologist seeks to understand the complex interrelationships that occur within the workplace in order to improve organisational effectiveness and individual wellbeing. They apply psychological principles and methods to understand and influence work behaviour, worker attitudes, organisational structures and organisational systems.
A sport and exercise psychologist helps sportspeople achieve their optimum mental health and wellbeing to improve their sporting performance. They may support athletes who are recovering from injuries, who have not met their performance expectations or who are struggling with the pressure of training and competition.